The dangerously venomous Fea's Viper (Azemiops feae) was first described from Myanmar, where it is known from Kachin State. It is also known to occur in southern & central China (western Yunnan and Shanxi east to Zhejiang and south to Guangxi) and northern Vietnam. Little is known about the natural history of this species, but it reportedly inhabits mountain terrain at elevations between 1000-2000 m. It has also been found in degraded habitats such as paddy, grass fields, and in and about villages. Historical records from Myanmar indicate that it occurs in the Northern Triangle subtropical forest and the Nujiang Langcang Gorge’s alpine-conifer and mixed-deciduous forest. (Leviton et al. 2003 and references therein) Andrew Durso provides an interesting summary of much of what is known of this species in his "Life is short, but snakes are long" blog.
Marx and Olechowski (1970) documented the presence of the common gray shrew (Crocidura attenuata) in the highlands of Xikang (western Sichuan, China), based on its presence in the stomach of a Fea's Viper specimen (at the time just the 11th specimen of this species collected, although many more have been collected in subsequent years).
Murphy (2014) provides some notes on the difficulty of keeping snakes of this species in captivity, but reports that a hatchling was produced at Riverbanks Zoo in South Carolina (U.S.A.).
Leviton et al. (2003) provide a technical description of Fea's Viper: No sensory pit between nostril and eye; body cylindrical; head flattened, above covered with large, symmetrical shields; nostrils large, in single completely differentiated nasal; loreal shield present, small; 2 pre- and 2 postoculars; eye with vertically elliptic pupil; scales smooth, in 17 longitudinal rows at midbody; ventrals 180-189, subcaudals 42-53, mostly paired, occasionally anterior shields undivided; blackish above, scales often edged with gray, 14-15 narrow white or pinkish crossbands, sometimes interrupted middorsally, or alternating with one another laterally; head yellow with a pair of dark brown to black stripes of somewhat irregular width extending from prefrontals to the black color on the neck. Total length: males 925 mm, females 820 mm; tail length: males 100 mm, females 80 mm
- Leviton, A.E., G.O.U. Wogan, M.S. Koo, G.R. Zug, R.S. Lucas, and J.V. Vindum. 2003. The dangerously venomous snakes of Myanmar: illustrated checklist with keys. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 54(24): 407-462.
- Marx, H. and T.S. Olechowski. 1970. Feae's Viper and the Common Gray Shrew: A Distribution Note on Predator and Prey. Journal of Mammalogy 51(1): 205
- Murphy, J.B. 2014. Studies on venomous reptiles in zoos and aquariums: Part II--True vipers, Fea's Viper, mole vipers, pitvipers, venomous lizards, conclusion. Herpetological Review 45(2): 346-364.
Distribution: N Myanmar (= Burma), N Vietnam S/C China (from W Yunnan and S Shaanxi east to Zhejiang, south to Guangxi; Kweichow, Sichuan, Fujien, Jiangxi,), SE Tibet. Elevation 600-1500 m.
Type locality: Kakhyen Hills, Burma
Habitat and Ecology
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